BOULDER, Colo. — Mike MacIntyre's inaugural meeting with his new team lasted just long enough to leave his players with this thought: He's turned around one downtrodden program and he can do the same at Colorado.
Not someday, either, but starting next season.
The 47-year-old coach revived a San Jose State football team in short order. Now, he'll try to fix the beleaguered Buffaloes, who are coming off their worst season in the 123-year history of the program.
"We've got a long way to go. But I've been there before and I know what to do," MacIntyre told a room full of boosters and media on Monday night after agreeing to a five-year deal worth $2 million a season. "There's no reason Colorado shouldn't be at the top of the conference and competing year in and year out."
His hiring ends a two-week search by Colorado that included a rejection by its first choice, Butch Jones.
MacIntyre inherits a squad that's coming off a 1-11 record this year that led to the firing of Jon Embree. MacIntyre's first order of business was giving his new players a quick pep talk when he met with them at Folsom Field.
"I think he won a lot of guys over in his confidence, with what he did at San Jose State and what he can do now," quarterback Connor Wood said. "He said we have a lot of talent here and can do the exact same thing. We believe it."
That's a step in the right direction, MacIntyre said.
"I can tell they're hurting a little bit and they should be," he said. "They want to prove themselves. ... I saw the same thing at San Jose State."
The Spartans (10-2) are ranked No. 25 in the BCS and are heading to the Dec. 27 Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. to face Bowling Green (8-4), two years after a 1-12 showing in McIntyre's first season. This is the first 10-win season in a quarter century for the Spartans, who are ranked 24th in both the AP and coaches' polls.
MacIntyre was 16-21 in three years as a head coach at San Jose State after serving as Duke's defensive coordinator.